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Growing Plumeria from Seed

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

Hi All,

I'm new to DG and new to gardening in general. I recently picked up seeds for a variety of plants, one being plumeria. I'm not completely sure what will work for me and what won't, so I figured starting from seed would be a fun way to learn.

I started a few plumeria seeds between paper towels in a baggie on the 25th, and I checked them again today and one has finally sprouted! I'm planning to move it to a small pot tomorrow, following some basic instructions I found online.

However, I wanted to see if any of you have any specific tips or tricks for growing from seed. I know it will take forever before I see flowers, but it should be fun anyway. =)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Hi Sharon, Welcome to DG.

I remember seeing Ontario Ca. on the map. But that was it. What's like with your climate there? Does it get cold enough in the winter to freeze the ground?, how much sun/shade do you have ect... I've been lucky to have success with plummie seeds germination. But I can't say I've any that would flower for me ... eventually they will, it's all dependent on the growing condition I give them.

From cuttings; I've a few that do well here for me. In my zone, they need winter protection of a greenhouse/or basement protection while in dormancy.

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

Hello Lily_love,

Here in Ontario, the main thing we have to deal with is the extremely dry hot weather during the summer (days up to 110 degrees, lasting anywhere from July through September). During the winter, I believe we get a few days that get cold enough during the night to freeze, though I don't know how deep it freezes the ground (I just know any standing water freezes). And we rarely end up with frost on our windshields (maybe a couple times).

In my backyard, I have a lot of areas that get morning-noon sun, but are in shade the rest of the day. In the front yard, almost everything is in shade until about noon or two, when the porch and front yard get hit with direct afternoon sun. One side of my house seems to have sun all day long, while the other is primarily shade all day long.

I did read that it could take anywhere from 3-5 years to have my plumeria from seed bloom, but I can wait. It shall teach me patience (I hope!). I heard that seeds were pretty easy to germinate, and I know people in southern California are able to grow plumerias pretty well (my mother-in-law brought a cutting back from a Hawaii trip we went on back in 2005).

I plan to keep the plumeria in a container, because my "soil" (dirt, really) is not really suitable for most plants (very heavy clay that turns into concrete in the baking summer heat). Plus, that way, I can bring it in on the coldest winter days if needed, or move it around to find the most suitable place for it.

How old are the plants you've grown from seed? And the cuttings too? The first batch of seed I ordered was 5 seeds marked Plumeria Hybrids. That's where this one that has germed came from. I also ordered some others of different types, though I realize they do not typically come true to their parents. I haven't started any of those yet though.

Fun stuff. =)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Those that I planted from seeds are 3 years old. They're not ready to bloom any time for I haven't given it the ideal condition it prefer. One of which is roughly a foot tall, and other remain small because I didn't transplant them to larger pots for the legs-room so to speak. With cuttings however, if the cuttings were taken from mature plumerias, they can blooms quickly. Sometimes, they can send out flowers stalk (inflorescent) while being rooted.

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

That's great that you've been able to keep them going this long, even if they haven't had their ideal conditions. We shall see how mine does. =)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

I wished I could offer you some good tricks. When come to Plumerias. Treat them as tropical plants, one can't go wrong. Protection from frost is a must other than that, they're quite forgiven plants. Best of luck, have fun.
If there is anything I can assist you with regard to your plumerias in the future. Drop me a dmail. I'd be glad to reply.

This message was edited Jun 3, 2011 9:23 PM

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)


One of my plumeria seeds that had sprouted in a ziploc, I moved it to a pot of just moist vermiculite (until it starts sending up greenery). I just took a look and I can see the green underneath pushing that seed sheath (is that what it's called?) up out of the soil. I might soon have an actual plant!

I'll be sure to protect them from frost. I don't think we get a lot of frost days here, but there are some. Perhaps before winter hits, I will make the hubby clean out the shed so I can use it for winter storage. =)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Good going Sharon. Remember to gradually 'harden' them off before you expose the young seedlings to full sun condition.

Yes, overwintering them indoor is how I keep mine from frost bite. The sausage-like tree with their cambium (the layers that transport neutrients up/down the plant is prone to damage. Once the "flow" of transport is impeded by frost or burn (like in human when our circulatory system collapsed), they would either die or lose that portion on the plant wherever the damage occurred.

Have fun, I'm going to sign off. (I thought I signed off last time, but apparently I forgot). Happy gardening.

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

Hi Kim,

Here's a picture of my little plumeria seedling. I had to help it take the little sheath off it's head, so the leaves are still just starting to spread out a little. At what point do you think I can move it outside? Once it has 4 true leaves, like most things need? I have not yet provided it with optimal sun or light, just the indirect light we get inside. It seems like it's not too unhappy though.

I have a bunch more seeds from different varieties that I have not yet started. I know they don't really come true to the parent, but hopefully I'll get a variety of colors anyway. =)

Thumbnail by SkeptikSharon
Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Congratulation! You've done well. You can gradually introduce the plant into a shady area outdoor, one with filtered shade, then gradually give it more sun light each day until you can leave it to a full sun 6 hours plus of sun is ideal. As this stage they like most seedlings maybe vulnerable to snail and slugs. Otherwise, these are not prone to many other gardening pests. Enjoy Sharon.

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

Thanks, Kim! My front porch is full shade until about 1-2pm, so I will have to start putting it out there for a while, then slowly start introducing it to the full morning sun in the backyard. Have you noticed a difference in how they react with morning or afternoon sun? Also, thanks for the tips on the pests. Good to know they don't really get hit by anything but the snails and slugs. We do have a lot of those, and we are past due for treating that, so I'll have to go ahead and get that taken care of. I'm not sure if the slugs will actively seek out the plumeria, or just eat it if they come across it, but better to just get rid of all the snails and slugs I can. Ick. =)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Where I live, afternoon sun is very hot. They tolerate them just fine. In general morning sun exposure is milder than afternoon sun. But like I have mentioned, once they're acclimated. Afternoon sun is fine just as well as morning as so long they get lot of them for optimal growth. Try sprinkle some sands around your young seedlings. That will deter the crawling snails if you're concern about using chemicals.

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

Good to know they tolerate the afternoon sun well. Do the snails not like the sand? That is very good to know. I can just do a light layer around the inside of the pot, I guess? Hmm... I wonder what else that works for. I do hate to use chemicals, because I have a dog and she has a tendency to eat anything she can find. But we are having tick problems, so I'm having the yard sprayed anyway. I should probably go ahead and lay down the sluggo stuff or something now, since the dog won't be able to go out in the yards for now anyway.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

It's your choice, good luck and keep posting your result. You're well on your way for many years of enjoyment.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Just so you can visualize what that little seedling is going to look like. Here is one of my seedlings in the red gallon container.

Thumbnail by Lily_love
Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

I love it, love it, love it! So that is a three year old seedling, right? My little baby has it's first set of real leaves, I think! I'm waiting for that second set to start showing. So exciting! And I'm going to start a few more seeds now. I'm loving them. =)

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Yes, so that 'baby' will mature and gives flowers -- hopefully in couple of years. I started the seeds as I recalled summer 2007.

Ontario, CA(Zone 8b)

Definitely a labor of love, waiting for that baby to flower. =)

Seal Beach, CA(Zone 10a)

My seed pod just split open today and I have 27 seeds. My ?: Which end of the seed do I put in the starter soil? The point end or the end that has the very thin tail?

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Neither, put them horizontally with the edges; one burry in the soil the other edge pointing toward the sky, so that the end point facing to your left, and the thin tail pointing to your right. Just barely cover the upper edge even with the soil level you'd have the best chance of having them germinated that way. That said, I've seeds that fallen into my other container indoor, with adequate light and moisture, they volunteered up anyway.

I was told that plumeria's seeds don't stay viable for very long. Best used as they're ripe from the pods as they cracked open. Good luck and have fun SweetPinSealBch.

Perth, Australia(Zone 11)

Hi Hon,
Just wondering how your little babies are going now?

I started some seeds about 5 weeks ago and they are going well! It was too, my first time at growing Plumeria from seed, and I am finding it very enjoyable!
I love my little seedlings like they are my babies! :-) lol!

I bought seeds that have the potential of growing in to Blood Red, Deep Red & Watermelon (as that is what the parent plants were) - however, I also know it is like giving birth without knowing the sex of the baby - you just don't know what you are going to get until it happens! But that is the most exciting part!
You must have been so chuffed to see your beautiful little green sprout with its first set of leaves! I know I was, and still am - mine are only just starting to grow their second set - I don't know which set are the true set for Plumeria? Do you know if they have water leaves? I'm still such a newbie!
What a great forum DG is! It's really nice to be able to share the same joy with fellow enthusiasts from all around the world. What a community of great spirit!
I'm in Perth, Western Australia.
My name is Jahna, and my gorgeous man is Jake. We are both garden lovers in our mid-twenties!

I've posted some photos of my little babies...

I really hope yours are doing well. Would LOVE an update on how they are going...

Pic #1) Watermelon - no signs of rooting yet
Pic #2) Blood Red (Irma Bryant) - All 5 have rooted and are now popping their greens above ground
Pic #3) Deep Red - All 5 have rooted and 3 are getting their second set of leaves. Yay!
Pic #4) Just a shot of all of them together

Kind regards,

Thumbnail by Jakometes Thumbnail by Jakometes Thumbnail by Jakometes Thumbnail by Jakometes
Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Hello Jahna,

Welcome to our gardeners community. You've done great with the seeds indeed. It's a pleasant discovery when we find out what type/color our seedlings will produce. In my case, the plumerias will take a long while. For the reason is. Plummies are tropical plants, and my location isn't exactly tropical. So the growing condition is modified somewhat, because of that the plants aren't performing their best--such as taking them longer to mature, and produce flowers? They're growing but haven't yet making flowers. Most of mine are still in my makeshift green house over the winter during which they stay semi-dormant. Spring is now arrived in our locale. I'm getting ready to move them outdoor to bask under the sunshine for the growing season.
I'll post more pix when available.

Mulberry, FL

You plant the seeds hard end down grab the seed and gently stick the seed end in the soil. Thats why these seeds are shaped like this in the wild pod splits wind blows the seed they spiral down heavy end sticks in light soil. And it starts again. They do not come true from the parents no telling what you will end up with i have the perfect weather for them and have some that are 6 yrs old and has not flowered I keep fertlizer on them. Spend the money buy what you want and be done with it

Central Valley, CA(Zone 9b)

The good news about growing plumeria seedlings is that even if your end results don't bloom within a reasonable amount of time, if they're otherwise strong and healthy, with a growth habit that you find pleasing, you can always use them as graft -stock, for cuttings of desired cultivars, later, -no need to discard them.

Pawleys Island, SC

I have been growing them from seed for about 5 years now. This past summer my first baby bloomed. It was a beautiful rose red. I am hoping some of my other seedlings bloom this year.

Central Valley, CA(Zone 9b)

It sounds lovely. What does it smell like? Will you be registering it with the PSA? I have some first year seedlings, and am hoping for some nice bloomers. About 5 of my seedlings have nice red coloration on their stems; I heard on another forum that this may be a sign of good coloration in the plant's blooms, later, so I'll be potting those up, first. I must admire your persistence and determination; 5 years is a long time to wait on blooms!

Pawleys Island, SC

I didn't keep good records on this planting. Actually I received the seeds in a trade and they were marked rose red. So I can't be sure what it is. It was gorgeous though. I am hoping other seedlings bloom this year.

Central Valley, CA(Zone 9b)

I have a window full of seedlings...rec'd some of the seed from Plumeria2U a year ago, (so they might be Florida Colors seed, and some of the seed were from Brad's Buds and Blooms. I only know the parentage of one plant, which was listed on the seed envelopes. I'm getting used to the idea of a looooooooooooong wait for these babies to bloom. In the meantime, I am lucky in finding nice folks willing to part with cuttings, (some with latent inflos) so I can get my plumeria fragrance and flower "fix", while I wait...

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